Seven organisations from Africa and Europe have partnered to form a consortium and launched the project, WITH: Boosting Women Entrepreneurship Education in Tourism and Hospitality in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Co-funded by the European Union, WITH was officially launched last week in Seville, Spain.
The partner organisations are: Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF), South Africa; Seville Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation, Spain; International Consulting and Mobility Agency (INCOMA), Spain; Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Nigeria; Centro Studi e Iniziative Europeo (CESIE), Italy; Equip Consulting Group, Malawi; and Gift Women Link Foundation, Uganda.
WITH is a two-year initiative that aims to skill and empower a new generation of climate and sustainability-conscious women intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners to succeed in the tourism and hospitality industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.
WITH’s key objectives are to empower young women with the soft skills and personal and social competencies needed to succeed as entrepreneurs, support trainers and educators in updating their knowledge and practices aligned with labour market needs and international practices, introduce and promote sustainable tourism and hospitality concepts, and boost experiential learning opportunities by working with public and private institutions active in vocational education and training (VET) and in the labour market.
Francisco Herrero León, President of the Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation of Seville, welcomed the WITH partners at their headquarters for a kick-off meeting last week, and said that the organization was very proud of being involved in a project where entrepreneurship and women are linked.
“At the Seville Chamber of Commerce, we are working intensely to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem every day, especially in recent years, we are boosting the role of women entrepreneurs, supporting them through programmes and initiatives. We hope to continue helping women entrepreneurs around the world thanks to the WITH project.
“The kick-off meeting has been just a starting point of inspiring organisations. During these two years, the European and African entities involved will work together to reinforce the entrepreneurial mindset of young women in Sub-Saharan African countries and bring sustainability consciousness to the new generations in the fields of tourism and hospitality.”
AWIEF Founder and CEO, Irene Ochem, added: “We are passionate about helping African women entrepreneurs build and scale the next generation of innovative and sustainable businesses that impact the lives of all of us in the coming years. We are taking this to the next level by engaging in effective multi-stakeholder partnerships as the WITH project, to mobilize and share knowledge, expertise and resources to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.”
Juan Guerrero, Head of Research and Innovation, INCOMA, said: “INCOMA will bring to WITH its more than 20 years of experience in highly relevant projects, such as ATHENA, SMART Volunteering for Female Migrants, CulTVET and EU4BCC, among others. We are very excited and inspired after this partnership kick-off meeting and launching of the project in our city, and looking forward to seeing the results start to show.”
Giulia Tarantino, Coordinator, International Cooperation at CESIE said, “CESIE is thrilled to work on the WITH project, as it focuses on three key aspects at the heart of our activities: women empowerment, entrepreneurship and tourism. Having developed several initiatives in this field, providing training and coaching opportunities to people interested in starting a business, we will try to capitalise on all these experiences to make a positive contribution to the WITH project.”
Rollins Chitika, Managing Director, Equip Consulting Group, said, “The WITH Project will inspire young women to seize opportunities, overcome challenges and actualize their entrepreneurial goals. This is the generation that promises to circumvent existing barriers to economic development in our country and Equip Consulting Group is thrilled to be working with partners from Africa and Europe in our contribution to making economic growth a reality.”